Sweet surprise

Hobby Hunting – Take 2

Determined not to be a quitter (or failure), I decided give ‘never fail peanut butter fudge’ another go. I mean, it’s right there in the name. How did I fail?

Back to the grocery store I went. This time, I purchased non-organic PB, aka Skippy. My taste-testing partner reminded me that when my grandmother created this recipe, there is a really good chance organic peanut butter wasn’t invented.

Also on the list: a candy thermometer. And believe it or not, I found out this thing tells me the temperature to get to the “softball stage!”

Genius! How did I not know this was a thing?

Since I knew the process, I was able to get everything done in about 30 minutes this time.

No texting the sister-in-law; I was on my own.

The result 

I didn’t fail! The fudge was firm, but melted in my mouth. The peanut butter was flavorful, but not overpowering. It was sweet, but not like cavity-causing sweet.

So good, a couple of pieces disappeared before I could plate!

Somehow, someway – I had become a “baker”-ish. I mean, there was no oven involved.

So, in order to call this hobby baking, I actually had to turn that thing on.

Da… da… dum… dum…

Baking – for real this time

Among the recipes in my wooden box is my Grandmother’s plan for apple pies. As mentioned before, I picked up all the ingredients needed for this recipe, including several pounds of apples.

Before I lay out the entirety of this baking test, I must admit a few things about myself.

  1. I didn’t know what a broiler was until I was 28.
  2. I have mistaken sugar for flour when trying to make gravy.
  3. I have no idea what “flute” means when referring to a pie crust.
  4. I do not know what it means to pare an apple.

Thanks to an invention that I cannot credit enough, I learned what “fluting” and “paring” was for this particular recipe. The sugar vs. flour debate is long over, and the broiler isn’t needed. So, I felt prepared for this real baking process. I pre-heated the oven to 450° and set off!

The recipe calls for two crusts. One for the pan and one to go over the apple mixture. I will admit, I purchased store-bought crust (because I’m not a genie who suddenly knows how to make such things).

Store bought crust.

6 cups of apples

The recipe calls for six cups of thinly sliced pared tart apples. After I learned what “pared” meant, I set to it. Do you know how long it takes to slice and pare six cups of apples? Let me tell you: 45-freaking minutes. This is not an easy or fun process.

So many apples.

The good news: after I pared the apples, mixing the ingredients and turning them into the already lined pie pan was really easy.

But – my Grandma was wrong. (I feel dirty just writing that.) Six cups of apples do not fit in a normal 9” pie crust/pan. I was only able to put about four cups in the pan.

Another mistake – possibly YouTube’s, possibly Pillsbury’s: the crust didn’t fall over the pan like the video showed. Therefore, I wasn’t able to “flute” like I was supposed to.

I decided to shake it off and go for it anyway. I put some aluminum foil around the edge to keep it from burning, and put it in the oven. Then, I realized another mistake: the oven was supposed to be set to 425° , not 450° (in case you’re counting, that’s number three).

Was I looking at another fail?


Apples to apples

After dropping the heat to 420° for 15 minutes to counteract my latest mistake, despite using store-bought short crust and just four cups of apples, the pie came out of the oven perfectly. We’re talking just golden brown enough to dream of putting  it on the windowsill. The apples were soft and gooey, without being mushy.

The only thing missing: ice cream.

This hobby seems to be working out for me!

Sweet, sweet success!!

Up next: making the pie crust for that incredible apple pie.

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